We are Grandparents

Our first grandchild was born on 09.05.2015 at Stoke Mandeville Hospital. A beautiful baby girl called Lacie Rose weight was 4lb 10oz, six weeks premature.

Lacie Rose

Lacie Rose

image image


Time for tea…..

After an absolute age I am back to the blog. Since my last post we have moved house, our eldest daughter has married and my right eye has finally had the cataract removed! All crafting had stopped as most of our equipment was either in storage or in boxes. The cataract in my right eye had not only gone around the pupil but across the front meaning I was looking at a permanent fog, completely frustrating when most of my craft involve reading patterns ūüė¶ We also moved from a 3 bed house to a 2 bed bungalow and so have spent a lot of time sorting through bits and trying to find clever storage ideas, which I think we have done well. The horrible old shed that was here has been taken down (although a tow rope and the car were needed due to the extreme number of 6 inch nails holding it together!!) and Ian now has a lovely new 12 x 8 shed to use as his workshop. It will be taken down again when the weather is better and a concrete base put down and the roof and sides reinforced and insulated so hopefully won’t be too long before the lathe is in action. We have given up our beloved allotment as it was just a bit too far away but now have a local plot, a bit smaller than our last one and in dire need of digging but as its walking distance form the house it will be perfect. One of the nice things about this move is waiting to see what plants appear in the garden. There are 2 jasmine, a grape and some gorgeous lavender plants. Also there is 2 small trees which we believe are plum and peach so if it ever warms up we may have some blossom. The title of this post is in honour of the first cross stitch kit I have picked up in months. It was too tricky trying to sew with a magnifying glass, as that was the only way I could see. I think this will look great in the kitchen as I am a bit of a tea lover ūüôā


I have been knitting but nothing really exciting, I finished one of the socks I started ages ago and am on the second and have done a baby hat and mittens just because the patterns were easy.


Anyway, now we are back in action I will keep the blog updated and will add more pictures next time.
Happy crafting ūüôā

Now In The How To…..Section…

Ian has added How to make a pen in the How To… Section.

Back At Last And With New Crafts……

Really?? March was¬†our last post?? In our defence it has been a very busy few months but I’m cross with myself for not taking enough pictures of our creations. We have had several birthdays and events and some of the gifts and cards made have not been photographed but armed with the camera today I have taken enough to keep us going for a while. We had Amy and Toby stay with us for a couple of months while they were between houses and that meant the craft room became a bedroom and the workshop/conservatory became a dumping ground but we are now back to normal and better than before. The best improvement is that after 17 years we have a newly decorated and newly carpeted bedroom! Every room has had at least one new carpet and lick of paint except ours so it was definitely ‘my turn’.

One of the biggest changes has been Ian’s¬†workshop. He has been building up a collection of larger tools and now has a wood lathe, bench grinder and bandsaw. This means he is now pen-making and wood-turning and some of the creations are just beautiful. Here is his first ever pot and lid.






He will be putting up some How to.. posts shortly showing some of the things he has learned.








This shows both sides of his workshop, he was finishing a pen that he had just made from a block of resin he had coloured and moulded himself using a resin mix and some of my card making embossing powder to colour it. He has ordered the correct pigment dyes now but the embossing powder did the trick unlike the food colouring we tried originally!


The finished pen looks beautiful. He is still learning and is getting better with each one made. The first one he turned was for Emily who decided she wanted one made from lots of different woods!! Not too hard for a first go then. Ian had a good selection of wood blanks that he had bought for making his knife handles so cut small sections off of each and epoxyed them together. The finished result was a totally unique pen that he gave Emily on her 18th birthday.




Not wanting to be left out I bought a kit for a perfume pen which Ian turned for me in a red acrylic.



Sorting out the craft room was another big job. We shelved the wardrobe for stacking boxes using off cuts of wood. Our local Homebase¬†has a timber cutting area and they put all the odd bits that customers don’t¬†want in a bin and only charge a few pence for it. Luckily when we went they had the perfect pieces for the shelving so we only had to buy the batons. From off cuts of MDF Ian made me a paper rack and a trip to Poundworld got me some great plastic boxes too. I had bought a white cane table from a charity shop a while ago and that is perfect for my sewing machine to sit on. We managed to fit an old corner computer desk into the corner and so Ian has a fly tying area too.








I have been card making and cross stitching as much as ever. One of my favourite finishes recently is one that Ian picked up from a car boot sale. It’s only a simple design but love the way it is framed using an old hoop.








As ever there are current WIPs. The foxglove cushion has taken a backseat for a while and I have been working on Fishermans¬†Haven and a small sampler. As ever though there are small projects in between and last night I finished a small butterfly bookmark for Emily’s boyfriends mum who had sent Em home with some cross stitch goodies she no longer wanted ¬†so to say¬† ‘thank you’ I made a card and bookmark for her.







I think though that my favourite project just recently has to be the ‘re-loving’ of an old sewing box. Ian picked it up from a car boot for ¬£3 thinking I would like it and he was right but it was in a sorry state, I’m cross with myself for not taking a before picture but imagine an old dark oak sewing box that someone had just painted over with a yucky greeny/blue paint, chipping all over and with the most hideous green frilly interior you have ever seen. It was sanded down, given 3 coats of eggshell paint (another Homebase¬†bargain) while Ian covered a piece of MDF with red leather for the base, then using the old one as a template made a padded cushion for the inside of the lid using some fabric from¬†my stash. Fabric then went round the sides of the box and it was trimmed with lace. The drawer was lined with some cheerful paper wrapped around card. It is now a beautiful piece of furniture that has all my current WIPs in.

Well I think that’s enough rambling for one day. Hopefully it wont be so long before my next post and I WILL remember to take photos!! Not even mentioned the allotment this post so will save that for next time ūüôā

Spring arrives….nearly

What a gorgeous start to March we had.¬†The¬†warm sunny days fooled us into thinking the worst of the weather was over, until this Sunday when we had snow! It didn’t settle but goodness, it was heavy. The temperature has dropped again and I’m glad we didn’t get carried away¬†with the heat and start planting too early in the allotments.¬†This year I’m determined not to get over-excited and sow too early, I end up losing more than I gain by trying to be as early as possible and give myself twice the work. Ian picked up a heated propagator from a car boot sale for me. It is quite an age but works perfectly so this year I am going to use it for my peppers which always seem to want the heat to get them started. We have several old egg boxes in the conservatory filled with our seed potatoes ready chitting. We try to get the earlies in for Easter weekend and, although it is hard work planting them, the rewards keep us going all year. We are still working our way through last years harvest of Cara and still a few Pink Firs as well.

We had an exciting delivery last week. A parcel from Tristan da Cunha arrived for Ian to deliver to the curator of the museum in Camogli as well as a letter to deliver to the Mayor from the Administrator on Tristan. It contained some traditional handmade items like the mini moccassins made of  hide that Ian remembers wearing as a child, and a traditional longboat as well as some gorgeous handspun wool. It has all been packed away now ready for the flight to Italy next week where it can be displayed in the Camogli museum. Ians cousin Aldo knows the mayor and is arranging a meeting for the letter to be handed over.

Tristan Flag

Tristan Socks, Wool and Moccassins.

Tristan Stamps

Tristan Longboat

Tristan Tourist Leaflets

The best item, though, was a¬†Tristan recipe book. I have¬†tried 2 recipes, so far, that¬†Ian remembers his Nanny Edith making, Snislens and Teddy Cakes. The recipes are very simple but very tasty. The recipe to master will be the famous Tristan pudding, my last attempt without a recipe was a bit stodgy so ‘fingers crossed’ my next will turn out ok.

As for crafting I have finished the socks I was knitting for Amy and have now started a pair for Emily using some of my ‘posh’ Cath Kidston wool.

Having a major clear up of the craft room I found a bag with a half finished jumper in it, goodness knows why I abandoned it but I have rescued it and am halfway up the front. Hopefully by the next post I will have photos to show as it really is gorgeous wool. We had a visit to Princes Risborough as a new craft shop has opened there and what a lovely place it is too. Sallys Sewing Box is small but packed with goodies. I bought a couple of small cross stitch kits and some buttons that had been hand embroidered by Sally herself.

As we wandered around the town I spotted a basket of wool in, what I thought was, a linen shop and popped in to see. It turned out to be full of wonderful locally sourced wool. The owner has an alpaca farm where she spins her own wool, another lady spins her own wool and dyes it using home grown vegetables. Anothe local lady makes ceramic buttons and they do workshops for crafts too, including quilting. It was a great place to discover and, as I explained to Ian, I HAD to buy some of the lovely alpaca wool. It even has the name of the alpaca the wool came from.

I was so pleased with how the cross stitch kit I finished, Country path, turned out that I was looking for some similar kits. I found a set of 3 Anchor kits on Ebay and was lucky enough to win them. I am looking forward to starting them as I think they will look great as a set in the hallway.

Ian has been busy fly tying for the start of the season and also working on his hand sewn leather jacket which is really looking good now. He has found a shirt that will be the lining so now the main area has been sewn he can work on the lining. He also made Toby a handmade wood/bone handle for a firesteel which he has posted about in the How to section. He is now making one for himself as well.

We certainly have plenty to get on with and, with any luck, the weather will improve and we can get on with some outdoor jobs as well as the indoor ones.


Thought I would add the link to the Tristan da Cunha wesite where all the above items fromTristan can be bought along with other souvenier items. It is an informative site for anyone wanting to know more about this fascinating island.



Freezing February = Hibernation!!

I really, really don’t¬† like snow! It looks wonderful but I dislike the disruption it brings, simple things going into town or walking to the shops become a mission. This was the view from our front door.

But on the upside I do enjoy staying in and using the weather as a reason to craft. After finishing the cross-stitch Country Path I have gone back to the Country Diary Foxglove kit which is to be made into a cushion. Sometimes putting a project away to work on something else can make returning to it a pleasure.

I also have socks on the¬†knitting needles. I had turned the heel and was well on the way to finishing when¬†I spotted I had dropped a stitch on the leg part! How¬†I missed it I dont know because I had the right number of stitches on the needles but when¬†I tried to pick it¬†back up it looked dreadful, so after a bit of ‘will anyone notice’¬†I decided to unravel the whole thing and start again. Sometimes a mistake can be glossed over and no-one would¬†ever know¬†except you, but there are other times when you just know it will bug you¬†every time you see it. On these occasions all you can do is start over. At least with this pair I dont have a deadline like the pair I knitted for Toby for christmas ūüôā I fancied knitting something easy and quick the other day and ended up making a small owl for Emily. It only took an evening and was very simple but enjoyable.

Ian has been working on his hand-stitched leather waistcoat and it is looking great. Hard work as it is all done by hand but it will be worth it in the end. He is going to line it with an old shirt and put in pockets.

He has also been working on some flies, getting ready for the start of the season. When he was building his rod we put the kitchen table into the living room as he needed the length of it for the drying process and after it was finished we decided to leave the table there as it looked good and would be nicer than in the kitchen. Since then, however, it has been a leather waistcoat worktable and a fly tying area ūüôā Notice in the photo my daylight lamp as the last 2 lamps he has used have both broken. He has been warned about breaking mine!!

We have had an offer of an allotment plot closer to home. It would be a 10 minute walk as opposed to our current plot which we drive to. We have decided to keep both at the moment and see how it goes. The council have extended an existing allotment site so it should mean that we dont have the amount of preparing that we had with our first plot. As soon as this blooming weather improves we can go up and have a look at it and see what work needs to be done. It does seem that there are no sheds on this site but being so close to home doesnt really matter. I will try and remember to take the camera to upload photos of it.

Heres hoping that the weather improves¬†and starts to warm up. Already some of my bulbs are pushing through the snow so spring is definitely on its way ūüôā


Better Late than Never…..

Happy New Year ūüôā It has been a couple of months since my last post and I have been ‘told off’ for reading blogs but not writing ours lol so here I am. We had a lovely christmas and the theme was very much Handmade with everyone making at least one item for someone else. Ian had a production line of leather wallets going and ended up making 4 of different designs for each of the boys in our family and then decided to make a leather dvd wallet for my brother! He also covered a couple of photo frames as well which looked very stylish. On his christmas list were various Dremel items which the girls got for him so now he can do pyrography and engrave as well. I had the knitting needles out and scarves and socks were made. I also did ‘goody bags’ for each of the girls with basic sewing items, a homemade button jar and then a few new craft kits for them to try. As Emily says we are spreading the crafting love ūüôā As well as making various presents we also recieved them, Charlotte knitted me a glasses case and Emily made me a leather scissor holder in the shape of an owl.

Both were first attempts but I think they are wonderful. Amy made some brilliant home-made candles and also monogrammed names onto towels in cross-stitch for  Charly and Danny using waste canvas.

The main event in january though was the arrival of Ians rod building kit. He had ordered it before christmas and got all the equipment he needed organised and built. He took his time over it and after 7 hours of slow spinning on his custom built stand ( using a cordless drill, an empty  double cream pot and some tape) it was finally finished and looks brilliant. He then took a solid cardboard inner from some christmas wrapping paper and some leather and made himself a rod tube, and a pair of old cotton trousers were cut down to make the rod bag. All in all a totally homemade project.

After a December of knitting I decided to get my Country Footpath cross-stitch finished in January and Ian then framed it for me. It rreminds me of many of the walks we have taken.

I am now working on a Foxglove cushion that I had already started and also have a pair of socks for me on the needles using a gorgeous ball of wool that Amy bought me for christmas. January is also my birthday and I was treated to a crocheted scarf and necklace, handmade by Amy, a gorgeous embroidered cushion from Charlotte and a bottle of home-made bubble bath and some lovely flowers from Emily. An extra treat was a trip to the Cath Kidston store to spend my birthday money and home to a lovely lunch that the girls prepared.

Hopefully February will be as productive ūüôā


Now in the How to… section..

Ian has added ‘How to’ make a leathercraft stitching pony.

Goodbye Summer…..Hello Autumn…

It has been well over a month since I last posted but the time has flown by.  We have been down the allotment harvesting the last of the crops and starting to get it tidied up for next year. Ian spent 2 weeks in Italy visiting relatives and came back with some wonderful recipes one of which is a simple fruit salad. It is just various fruits and berries cut into small pieces, sprinkled with sugar and half a lemon squeezed over it. Once it has been left in the fridge for a while it tastes gorgeous, so simple yet so tasty. However, having become a huge fan of this pudding I was shocked at the price of fresh fruit and especially red and black currants! So we have decided to make one of our plots a fruit bed. We already have a blackberry growing at the top of this plot, called Black Butte, a thornless variety which had a good crop this year but is quite sharp so is more for jam-making than eating.


We have made a start with some old slabs we had at home making a central pathway. As you can see the blackberry support is a couple of old archways which will be taken down to make room¬†¬†for the ‘new’ fruit cage Ian is building.The odd bit of trellis down the side is supporting a baby blackberry which appeared, it may be moved at a later date. We have ordered 2 raspberry plants and 3 honeyberry¬†plants so far. The honeyberry is something new to us, apparently they are like blueberries but with a honey aftertaste! Interesting to try we thought. We are planning on black and red currants as well and maybe white currants if we have room.

The 2 plastic greenhouses have come to the end of their life unfortunately but like true allotmenteers¬†nothing was wasted. We have kept the plastic covering and can cut it up for cloches when we need it. The metal outer frame is also going to be used as the roof part is one section and with the four of them will also be a good plant covering. The shelving inside them has become my ‘new’ green house staging and is much more stable than the plastic shelves I had in there.

As you can see the only plants left in the greenhouse are the aubergine and a couple of pepper plants. The aubergine exceeded  our expectations and we have had plenty of fruit from it.

These are the last few now. It is an unheated greenhouse and although we havent had a frost yet, the early mornings and evenings are fairly chilly now. The last of the courgettes and squash curled up after a particularly cold night so it wont be long before the greenhouse is empty too. In the flower bed the Cosmos are still in flower and my Chinese Lanterns are still going but the rest of the flower bed has been weeded and dug over as next year it will be used for the salad crops.

It seems odd not having any winter veg in this year but each plot really needs a good manure covering over winter and so we decided to let them all rest this year. The middle smaller plots have already been dug and manured and will be ready for planting garlic and onions next week. The rest is coming along nicely, nothing like some digging to warm you up, that’s for sure.


As for crafting I have been mainly cross-stiching and Ian has been making a leather  i-pod case for Jake. It is one that Jake designed himself and the prototype came out well so Ian is now doing it on the leather that Jake chose. I am currently doing a design of a letter V with a teddy bear for my mother-in-law Violets birthday. There are quite a few birthdays coming up as well as Christmas so I really must get some cards made. We have to post off a Christmas card and present for Ians Uncle Ernest on Tristan da Cunha by the end of October or else it will miss the boat with the Christmas mail. With the shorter days and colder weather we tend to hibernate in the warm so a lot more crafting than gardening will be done.

Now in the How to…. section

Ian has added How to make a leather wallet.

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